To those of you who have seen ‘The Prestige’, Nikola Tesla was that fruity British dude who just shows up, does cool shit and just when you start to like him, he fucks off to oblivion. And here is the fun fact for those who have seen The Prestige ( And for those who haven’t SPOILER ALERT! But seriously, the film is like 9 years old.) David Bowie (the singer) acts as Tesla!
Ziggy Stardust is Nikola Tesla (In Nolan’s universe anyway).
This is the most sober I’ve ever seen him.
Getting back to Tesla, he was born in 1856 in Smiljan, Austrian Empire (modern day Croatia) to a genius mother and a priestly father , Tesla was one of those odd kids who end up being destined for greatness and makes the rest of the kids in the classroom go, “ Damn! I shouldn’t have bitchslapped that one.” A genius through much of his childhood , he possessed an eidetic memory and was allergic to religion and conscription. Despite being the top of his class initially, he got into arguments with his professors on how he never graduated due to a serious gambling addiction he developed. After a few more bumps along the way, he finally made it to America and work with none other than Thomas Edison. Some claim that Tesla’s decision to move to America was because he saw a vision of the perfect engine that creates alternating current and wanted to work with the baap of electricity.But then again, there are others who claimed he had psychic vision and had conversations with pigeons.
The epic bromance between Edison and Tesla was short lived after the ‘War of the Currents’ broke out. The War of the Currents was basically a bitch fest between Edison’s DC current and this other guy, Westinghouse AC current. ( If you want to know what AC/DC is, open your 8th grade science text or you could ask Angus Young). After Edison refused to pay Tesla for improving Edison’s inefficient DC motors, Tesla gave Edison the middle finger and formed his own company. That is when Tesla decided to collaborate with George Westinghouse who developed AC current technology. Now, Tesla was the sort of genius who fixed stuff before people realized their stuff were broken. Think of him as the 19th century Steve Jobs, but an actual genius who invented revolutionary shit rather than scream at everyone to make everything more zen. ( Please note that this article is being written on a Macbook and we at dfuse.in worship him, though Mr.Jobs was sort of an asshole to numerous people) Because AC current was so awesome, Edison got super jelly and decided to conduct demonstrations on stray cats and dogs and began to publicly electrocute animals and show them how dangerous AC was. Yup, Edison was an asshole. But despite all the bad press, Tesla was still being pretty awesome. Tesla was so badass he began demonstrating wireless energy transmissions. And this is in 1891! That was 123 years ago!
Tesla and Westinghouse would later win the contract to have an installation at that year’s World’s Fair and they created a massive power system for the fair which would power 3 times more electricity than what was used in the city of Chicago at that time. He also created a spectacular display with phosphorescent lights which was powered without wires.
Tesla was so hipster, he had his own laboratory in New York and just ‘coz he was a nice guy he lit electric lamps wirelessly near his labs to show everyone the potential of wireless energy.
Even though everyone agreed that Tesla was a man beyond his times, he became highly unpopular for the kind of theories he propagated. One such theory was that electricity can be produced and distributed for free wirelessly across the world. In a highly capitalistic society like the USA, the idea of free electricity would have been opposed by the wealthy industrialists of the time who owned power plants.
Tesla was a magnet for bad luck as well. He began experimentation with X-Rays way before Rotengen did and Tesla was so badass that one of the first X-Ray photos ( which he was called shadowgraphs) he took was an X-Ray photograph of Mark Twain.
Once, Tesla demonstrated a radio controlled boat and people were so baffled by this technology they were convinced that Tesla was some sort of a magician who put a trained monkey inside the boat to make it move. He would later pitch the idea of having remote controlled torpedoes for the US Army and unfortunately they didn’t give a shit. YES! Tesla invented remote controls, as well! When his experiments started getting a lot more radical, he shifted base from bustling New York to the serene Colorado Springs where his experiments made him a very unpopular neighbour. In his gigantic laboratory, he created artificial lightning storms, induced earthquakes and conducted other wild experiments which caused quite a bit of oddities around the area such as sparks on the roads and from water taps.
Tesla is the archetypal mad scientist. Towards the end of his Colorado Springs experiment, he claimed that his receiver picked up extra-terrestrial signals from Mars. Towards the end of his life, his Colorado Springs lab had to be closed down and all the equipment inside was sold off to repay his debts.
Finally, the man who had harnessed the mighty Niagara Falls to build the world’s first hydroelectric plant would finally meet his end afte being run over by a taxi while returning from feeding pigeons. He refused medical help and was bedridden for months and passed away alone in his hotel room only to be found by his maid two days later.
Unrecognized and unappreciated during his time, Tesla’s contributions to science and technology has been monumental in defining the way we live today. His final legacy, the unfinished Wardenclyff Tower was intended to be built to be a commercial trans-Atlantic wireless telephony, broadcasting and for large scale power transmission. However, his investor refused to invest anymore and was appalled by the idea of unaccountable wireless power generation for the masses. He not only leapfrogged through several generations of technological innovations but didn’t follow fame and fortune instead sought to create a better world.
Basically everything that makes him the craziest hipster scientist ever. Now we know why David Bowie was cast in The Prestige.